BCF rescues Eid prayers for many residents in Barking

Published: 23 April 2023

As Eid ul Fitr for millions of Muslims was announced at the end of Thursday night on 20th April, many organisers of the “Eid in the park” were frantically also checking the weather forecasts for Eid prayers on Friday 21st April.

In Barking and Dagenham, and across neighbouring boroughs the weather showed continuous rain and temperatures around 8 degrees, hence many of the organisers had to make the unfortunate decision to call off the prayers in parks including those organising the Eid prayers in Mayesbrook Park, Upney Barking.

Thankfully, Barking Community Forum (BCF) were already organising three sessions of Eid prayers from the Hedgecock Community Centre (HCC) and after seeing these cancellations held an emergency meeting amongst the management and volunteers and agreed to organise a further Eid prayer session at 7.00 am to offset the cancellations and help as many Muslims in Upney and the surrounding areas as possible to perform these important Eid prayers.

“It was an unfortunate situation; we all know weather is unpredictable in the UK. We had to make these quick but important decisions and coordinate this with other local mosques and prayer centres.” Said Harun Miah, the current Chair of BCF.

“We got our in-house designer to design a poster and a short message with new prayer times and have circulated it to various WhatsApp groups in Upney to get the message out to as many people as possible.” Added Harun.

On the day of Eid, Harun and the BCF management and volunteers started their shifts at 6.00 am. They were extra vigilant, not just for the surplus worshippers, but have also been informed that the Leader of the Council, Cllr Darren Rodwell and the Civic Mayor, Cllr Faruk Choudhury would also be visiting the BCF prayers to share words of appreciation and ongoing support for the work BCF have been doing in the community.

At around 9.00 am Cllr Darren Rodwell and Cllr Faruk Choudhury attended a packed audience at the HCC, sharing their appreciation and support for BCF and the Muslim community of Barking.

“Wishing you all a great celebration of Eid; ‘Eid Mubarak’. You all have been fasting a whole month whilst coming together to support causes in Barking and around the world. I thank the organisers BCF for inviting me to the Hedgecock Centre.” Said Cllr Rodwell.

“BCF has been providing Taraweeh and now Eid prayers for us all” Added Cllr Choudhury.

As the day progressed, four prayer sessions were held at HCC; these were for 7.00 am, 8.00 am, 9.00 am and 10.00 am for men, women, and families.  BCF also handed out gifts of sweets and perfumes for worshipers and children after their prayers.

The last two were totally packed out and the volunteers had to redirect some of the worshippers to neighbouring mosques such as the Essex Islamic Academy (Ripple Road) and Darul Ihsan (Akanjee) Mosque on Longbridge Road where additional prayer sessions were offered for these park cancellations.

BCF wishes to thank the following volunteers for going above and beyond their duties in providing another successful month of Taraweeh prayers in Ramadan and the subsequent Eid prayers: Shahnur Miah, Abdul Quddus, Azmal Hussain, Abdul Mukith, Dobir Miah, and Shahjahan Hussain.

Work has already started for BCF to organise outdoor Eid ul Adha prayers and hope for good weather.